|dc.description.abstract||A field experiment was undertaken to determine the usage of various grammatical and morphological variants in the speech of adolescents in the provinces of Otago and Southland, New Zealand. Eleven schools throughout the region were given written questionnaires designed to test the respondents' acceptance of a variety of grammatical forms. The variants under investigation were: Irregular verb forms, Past participle or present participle preference after the verb needs, Youse as a plural second person pronoun, Pronoun use, Preposition use, Intrusive have, Comparatives and superlatives, and Have deletion with gotta.
In all, 36 sentences were devised to test the usage of the variants under investigation. These questionnaires were presented to high school students aged between thirteen and fifteen from eleven schools in Otago and Southland. The informants were asked to report their usage of the sentence and were also given the opportunity to make any changes to the sentence if they wished. The informants were also asked to fill in a demographics section at the end of the questionnaire.
A usable 329 questionnaires were collected and the data loaded into a database. The data was processed using SPSS and conclusions drawn from this analysis. As some of the sentences were similar to other studies that have been done in New Zealand, a comparison was made with the results from this study and other regions of New Zealand. The results show that regional variation does exist in New Zealand English grammar as well as the previously researched morphological and lexical variations. Gender appeared to be the biggest stratifying factor in this survey although socio-economic class also proved to be a differentiating feature. There was not enough data regarding ethnicity to make any conclusions regarding usage and ethnicity.
One of the factors that appears to be influencing New Zealand English is the introduction of new past participle forms in weak verbs through analogy with forms from the strong verb classes, as well as the levelling of the past and past participle forms in some strong verbs.
New Zealand English does not have variants that differ from other varieties of English, however the manner in which some variants are used demarcate New Zealand English as its own grammatical variety.||en_NZ